Monday, December 22, 2014

Western Australia Day 3: Cape Leeuwin, Jewel Cave, Bellview Seashell Museum, A Maze'n Margaret River

Another cold morning outside, but inside the cabin, the heater kept us cosy and had to be blamed for keeping us in bed a little longer that we had planned. We washed up and the girls headed out to the jumping pillow to join the other children already getting their morning exercise, while Daddy and Mummy packed our daypacks to explore the great southwest. Another late morning, as by the time we were ready to go it was 9.30 am.

We skipped breakfast but brought into the car some ready-made honey and blueberry jam sandwiches and a box of chicken flavoured crackers to fuel up during our 1.5 hour drive to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in Augusta, arriving just in time to catch the 11 am guided tour. Despite being already fully booked, we were allowed to join the group as a couple of participants did not show up. Mummy, who was a Geography major was looking forward to her chance to see the spot where the Indian Ocean meets the Pacific Ocean. Our guide explained to us that this was one of the reasons why Cape Leeuwin is known as one of the most dangerous seafaring routes, alongside other capes with bad reputations, such as the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn.

Up we go... it's a lot more tiring than I expected.

The view from the top is gorgeous!

We were provided with audio guides and the girls had a lot of fun using them.

Just 20 minutes away from Cape Leuwin was Jewel Cave, another place of interest for our Geography-buff Mummy. The cave is just one of the many well-known caves of Western Australia, and once inside, we could only wonder how the pioneers who discovered the cave must have felt as they uncovered it piece by piece without modern lighting or technology. The cave is known for its amazing ‘jewel’-like formations (hence its name), and also the discovery of five Tasmanian Tiger skeletons.

Information boards about micro-fauna in the cave.

One of the Tasmanian Tiger skeletons found in the cave.

The walkways have many steps taking us into the different levels of the cave. It is dimly yet artistically lit. One can only imagine what it must have been like for animals trapped inside here.

Green light pans over this formation to give it a 'coral reef' effect.

All this exploration is making us hungry... sandwiches please. The Jewel Café serves quality creations but we felt it was a tad pricey.

After our tummies were full, the kids fell asleep quickly after we had left the cave and Daddy decided to take this opportunity to sneak in a quick peek at the Bellview Shell Collection, Australia’s largest private collection of shells, corals and crustaceans. The plan was to leave the kids in the car with Mummy, but when the car was parked outside the house-like museum, the older girl woke up and decided to tag along. Daddy spend a little longer inside the gallery to enjoy the larger than expected display to his heart’s content, and by the time he was ready to leave, the whole family had joined him. The collection is one man’s lifelong passion. Peter and Kathryn Ignoti are the proud owners cum curators. Kathryn played host to us by keeping Daddy engaged in ‘shell-shock’ whilst providing answers to any of the questions we had.

From the outside, the Bellview Shell Museum looks like just another house.

After the the geographer and scientist were satisfied, we finally decided to get down to something the kids were looking forward to – A Maze’n Margaret River – a children themed garden for kids and grownups where the highlight is a giant hedge maze you can easily get lost in. Just how much time do you need to spend here? That’ll depend on how long it takes you to get out of the maze! The kids were full of energy and enthusiasm at the start, but this quickly wore off after we kept getting lost! However, I must admit that the screaming and shouting from the other visitors to their fellow company who were in the other part of the maze did make me feel better as we were not the only ones going around in circles...or in lines. Either way, everything looked the same after a while that we didn't even know what we were doing. By the time we got out, we had spent over half an hour finding our way. Half an hour doesn’t seem like much, but try being stuck in a maze with no clear way out and half an hour would feel  like two hours. There was a point where we were so tempted to take the emergency exit to end our ordeal, but we’re proud to say that we made it to the exit together (before the park closed at 5 pm and the staff sweeps out the stragglers)!

We were given a hand-drawn map of the garden grounds. The large hedge maze takes up about a quarter of the compound.

Here we are at the beginning of the maze, all ready to solve it...

Hmmm... this feels a lot different from a pen and paper exercise.

Enthusiasm soon gives way to frustration as all turns seem to lead us to a dead end. The heat and irritating flies are also getting on our nerves. We feel trapped!

This structure marks the centre of the maze, and we finally find our way here for a quick breather before continuing on our mission.

After over half an hour, we finally make it to the exit! A sense of accomplishment indeed. I'm glad that even though we were tempted to take the easy way out by leaving the maze via the emergency exits, we chose to press on.

There are many other games and the beautifully landscaped garden is the perfect place for an evening walk. However, it is fast approaching 5 pm and the gardens will be closing soon

A quick go at the mini maze.

It was close to dinner time, and we stopped by Margaret River for an ice-cream and some groceries before a 40 minute drive back to our cabin to finish our left-over lasagne and chicken from yesterday, in addition to some goodies we picked up a the Woolsworth. While Mummy and Daddy prepared dinner, the girls went out for another round at the jumping pillow.

We dropped by the Margaret River Fudge Factory for ice-creams.

Morish is another local brand of locally processed nuts.

Chilli Milk Chocolate?

Fudge tasting station.

Welcome to the fudge kitchen.

We ended the day with another round of ‘Hangman’ over supper, and turned in a little past ten. Another eventful day, but the girls requested that we take it a little slower tomorrow so that they could spend more time enjoying the amenities at the caravan park. We were certainly glad that the kids enjoyed the park as much as we did.  

No comments:

Post a Comment